Agromatter Network at Alimentaria: Sustainable innovation with agricultural waste

Events ·

The Agromatter Network brings to Alimentaria sustainable innovation solutions from agricultural waste and by-products

  • The Fair will showcase thermoformed trays that extend the shelf life of food, facial creams with benefits for the skin, biocomposite plates for construction, jams that replace additives with natural fibres, biodegradable padding and hamburgers enriched with antioxidants.
  • AITEX, ANDALTEC, CTAEX, CTNC and ITENE, five technology centres that have developed demonstrators that provide sustainable solutions to transform the food and agriculture, cosmetics, textile, automotive, plastics and packaging industries.

The Cervera Agromatter Network will present thermoformed trays that extend the shelf life of food, facial creams with benefits for the skin, biocomposite plates for construction, jams that replace additives with natural fibres, biodegradable padding and hamburgers enriched with antioxidants at the Alimentaria trade fair, to be held from 18 to 21 March in Barcelona.

These are the final results of the Agromatter project, funded by the Ministry of Science and Innovation through CDTI and led by five technology centres: AITEX, ANDALTEC, CTAEX, CTNC and ITENE, which have applications in multiple sectors, from food to cosmetics, textiles, automotive, plastics and packaging. 

All these sustainable solutions will be presented in the trends and innovation space Alimentaria Hub, specifically at stand 7 in Hall 5 of Fira Barcelona. 

In addition, on 18 March, Presentación García, coordinator of the CTNC Technology Area, and Mari Carmen Carrillo, head of R&D Projects at CTAEX, will take part in the presentation 'Cervera Agromatter Network: sustainability as a generator of knowledge and business opportunities'. And on the 20th at 12.00 pm, Pilar Albaladejo, head of projects at ITENE, will give a talk on 'Red Cervera Agromatter: Valorisation of agricultural by-products as a business opportunity' within the framework of the Alimentaria fair.

The group has focused its technological capabilities in the study of the valorisation of agricultural waste and by-products in the development of new materials with low environmental impact, easy recyclability and with a well-defined life cycle for the intended purpose.

Specifically, AITEX has participated by offering solutions for the textile and cosmetics sector. Thus, it has developed non-wovens with acoustic insulation capacity, wood-like panels composed of by-products from rice straw, textile prints using waste from the wine industry, as well as shampoos, facial creams and exfoliants with benefits for the skin and hair.

For its part, ANDALTEC, using agricultural waste such as wheat straw or river cane, has carried out optimisation processes to manufacture film-type bio-based materials for use in the packaging industry. They have also achieved reinforced materials with applications in the automotive sector for the manufacture of rear-view mirrors, among others.  From nonwoven infusion processes with bio-based resins, they have obtained biocomposite plates with properties that can be used as sustainable acoustic and thermal insulation plates for the construction sector.

The CTNC has acted as an intermediary with finalist development centres for sectors such as packaging, agriculture, cosmetics, textiles and the automotive industry and has scaled up at pilot level the sustainable processes of industrial by-products from lemon, broccoli and grapes, producing jams in which the pectin additive is replaced by natural fibre obtained from lemon peel, Kombuchas from liquid extracts of lemon, grape and broccoli and sponge cake enriched with citrus fibre.

Finally, CTAEX has participated in the field validation of a biofertiliser developed by ITENE, another of the Cervera Agromatter Network centres, in the cultivation of tomato, pepper, aubergine and courgette. It has also developed homemade biscuits and chocolate biscuits with grape pomace extract and beef burgers with extracts from wine lees enriched in antioxidant compounds.

ITENE's tasks in the framework of the Agromatter project have focused on the valorisation of fruit and vegetable by-products to obtain lactic acid by fermentation of lemon and broccoli peel, to be used as packaging material and compound for the cosmetic industry, as it has reached a purity of 85%. They have also succeeded in obtaining a biofertiliser to accelerate growth comparable to a commercial fertiliser.

They have also obtained cellulosic additives from wheat straw and rice husk by-products, specifically microfibrous cellulose, which can be seen at this fair in the form of thermoformed trays that extend the shelf life of fresh meat, and other packaging for dry, aqueous, low-acid and fatty foods that reduce costs and improve the barrier to oxygen and water vapour.